After a three-year process of industry comment, review and revision, May 1 will see the adoption of a new National Construction Code (NCC). Triggered by extensive use of non-compliant building materials and combustible cladding, given prominence by the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne Docklands, the new code is intended to enshrine the urgent requirement for fire resistant materials to be specified.
National Precast CEO Sarah Bachmann says precast concrete has a key role to play in driving better outcomes for builders, architects and developers.
“One of the oldest forms of prefab is precast concrete. The smart operators are realising the productivity improvements it delivers, while producing sustainable and safe outcomes for communities… a win-win solution,” she says.
“Those who are maximising its possibilities are turning to total precast structures. Used for many types of structures including apartments, parking structures, retail developments, offices and industrial buildings, total precast structures can combine architectural and structural precast concrete components to create sustainable structures.”
“The total precast design approach can take several forms, including precast columns and beams with panelised cladding or load-bearing precast walls, precast floors, precast service cores and precast stairs.”
Campbell scheme – Apartments like these in Sydney’s Liverpool incorporate Humes’ precast floors and precast walls for their durable, fire-safe properties.
High quality precast manufactured by National Precast member Euro Precast was used for its speedy construction and fire-safe properties in Melbourne’s Elm Tower apartments.
“The use of total precast in a structure combines the benefits of rapid construction with improved on-site safety with structures that are durable and robust, fire safe, energy efficient and architecturally superior. Many public buildings like schools and convention centres, as well as high-rise residential buildings are currently specifying precast concrete.”
Bachmann notes that construction which focuses on most of a structure being built from prefabricated components that are manufactured offsite in a factory, has been suggested to improve productivity by up to 10 per cent.
“Yet, many contractors continue to focus on maximising margins rather than improving productivity. Time, cost and quality requirements come unstuck, with a continued focus on lowest prices. That frequently delivers longer construction programs and less-than-optimal quality and safety outcomes.”
“National Precast and its members are committed to driving the message that precast concrete from a high quality manufacturer is the smart way to design and build. And given the fire resistance provisions enshrined in the NCC, it’s also the safe way.”■